General Assembly sends redistricting bill to governor

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The Delaware General Assembly on Monday sent redistricting legislation to Gov. John Carney for his signature.
 
SB 199 was passed in response to the Legislature’s   mandated redistricting process based on the 2020 U.S. Census, which reported the state’s population at 989,000. The First State has gained 300,000 residents since 1990.
 
The measure passed the House with one no vote and on a party-line vote in the Senate.
 
There had been scattered calls for legislators to get more public imput on redistricting, which was rushed due to delays in getting Census data during the pandemic.
 
The process requires the General Assembly to follow  standards established by law. Criteria  include maintaining majority-minority districts; contiguous  and compactness of districts; achieving nearly equal population in each district; preserving communities of interest; and using boundaries such as major roads, streams, and other natural boundaries.
 
Northern Delaware lost a legislative district to southern Delaware. The seat now held by state Rep. Gerald Brady, D-Wilmington  was moved to the faster-growing southern part of the tate. Brady opted against running again after a racially charged email he authored  was released.
 
New boundaries could affect the seats of the few Republican legislators in the northern part of the state.
 
Delaware is now solidly Democratic north of the C&D Canal, with most of Sussex County solid Republican and a mixture of Democrats and Republican seats in the central part of the state.
 
The process of dealing with the above listed criteria results in a few oddly shaped districts, including one in the Bear area that is  reminiscent of the logo of the Wu-Tang Clan hip-hop group.
 
The new legislative districts will take effect for the 2022 general election. Candidates in that election must reside in the new districts. Immediately following the Nov. 8, 2022 election, legislators will begin representing constituents within the new district lines.
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